Distractions can distort our realities

September 20, 2019
OSU News

Ohio State News published an article this week detailing the ways in which our distractions can have an impact on the way we perceive things in real life.

A study conducted by department faculty and graduate student Dr. Julie Golomb, Dr. Andrew Leber and Jiageng Chen suggests that distractions can manipulate how we interpret our realities. For example, they can make us think we saw something when we really didn't. To find out more, the study, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, focused on participants who were tasked with remembering the color of squares on a computer screen.

The results indicated that when faced with a distraction, participants often mislabled the square as the color of the distraction or overcompensated and labeling the color as drastically different from the color of the distraction. Even more interesting, the participants were often just as confident when selecting the distraction color as they were when selecting the correct color. 

Additional research on this topic is already underway at Ohio State.